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Nutson's Weekly Auto News Wrap-up - July 19-25, 2020



This Happened Last Week: MIT Report-Driverless Future Still In Park; NY Going EV; Dash Camera #1 Future Option; LG Sues SK; Emissions-Gate; FCA and Waymo Going Steady; APEAL Awards Released; Tesla Chooses Texas; Mustang Mach-E 1400 Unveiled; Mitsubishi Shows New Models, New Headquarters, Great US Sales, Staying Put; Genesis Launches; $3.5 Mil First R-Model Shelby Mustang; Front Plate In Ohio Scrapped; BJ Collector Car Road Tours; Upcoming Indy 500 Covidized; Alex Zanardi Still Struggling; RIP Maurice Petty NASCAR Hall of Famer

AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO July 26, 2020; Every Sunday Larry Nutson, Chicago Car Guy and Executive Producer, with able assistance from senior editor Thom Cannell from The Auto Channel Michigan Bureau, compile The Auto Channel's "take" on this past week's automotive news, condensed into easy to digest news Nuggets.

LEARN MORE: Links to full versions of today's news nuggets along with a million pages of the past 25 year's automotive news, articles, reviews and archived stories residing in The Auto Channel Automotive News Library can be found by just copying and then inserting the main headline into the News Library Search Box.

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Nutson's Automotive News Review - Week Ending July 25, 2020; Important, Concise or pithy automotive news, opinion and back stories in expertly crafted easy to digest news nuggets.

* The MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future has released a new research brief examining the future of autonomous vehicles. The brief considers the current state of automated driving technology and its potential impact on jobs. Despite substantial recent progress by the industry, fully automated driving systems that have no safety driver onboard will take at least a decade to deploy over large areas, even in regions with favorable weather and infrastructure; winter climates and rural areas will experience still longer transitions.

* AutoBeat Daily reports that New York is getting serious about increasing the use of electric vehicles. The state, which aims to have 850,000 zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025, now is developing the supporting infrastructure to help achieve the goal. The state says its “EV Make Ready” plan will spend $750 million through 2025 to install nearly 53,800 Level 2 charging points and 1,500 direct-current fast-charge units stations by 2025.

* The Dash Camera tops a list of features wanted by future vehicle buyers AutoPacific recently surveyed over 1,000 vehicle owners about 16 features, from categories such as safety and security, self-driving, comfort and convenience, and connectivity. The top 5 features consumers want on their next vehicle are highly focused on safety and security, with a built-in dash camera coming out on top.

* Reuters reports Volkswagen and Ford warned U.S. officials that a patent battle between South Korean battery makers SK Innovation and LG Chem could lead to a "catastrophic supply disruption" that threatens American jobs. SK is building a factory in Georgia to supply batteries to Volkswagen's Tennessee assembly plant when it begins building electric vehicles in 2022. SK plans to build another U.S. plant to supply Ford. LG has sued SK, accusing its smaller rival of stealing trade secrets and asking that SK be barred from producing batteries in the United States.

* German prosecutors searched offices of Fiat Chrysler and CNH Industrial, the commercial vehicle maker, in connection with a never-ending probe of emissions test cheating by automakers. The authorities are after evidence as they probe whether Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Jeep and Iveco commercial vehicles had diesel engines rigged to cheat government emissions tests, and then pump out illegally high levels of exhaust emissions while operating on the road.

* Waymo and Fiat Chrysler said they are expanding and deepening their partnership. FCA said it will work with Waymo exclusively to develop autonomous commercial vehicles and other types of self-driving vehicles that would be offered in its global portfolio. Waymo and Fiat Chrysler have been steadily expanding their collaboration since 2016.

* The J.D. Power 2020 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study finds most owners satisfied with the new car they bought - In spite of vehicle's faults some owners still love them. Porsche ranks highest in the luxury segment. Dodge ranks highest in the mass market segment. Mazda climbs the most in the mass market rankings, placing nine spots higher than in 2019.

* Ford introduced the Mustang Mach-E 1400, an all-electric road rocket that shows just how much performance can be harnessed without using a drop of gas. Coming hot on the heels of the 1,400-horsepower all-electric Mustang Cobra Jet 1400, this one-off Mustang Mach-E with its seven electric motors and high downforce is ready for the track, drag strip or gymkhana course – anywhere it can show how electric propulsion promises extreme Mustang performance. Developed in collaboration with RTR and built off a Mustang Mach-E GT body-in-white, the prototype targets 1,400 peak horsepower. Making its first appearance at a NASCAR race soon, Mustang Mach-E 1400 is designed to challenge perceptions of what electric vehicles can do with performance tuning and advanced technology.

* Mitsubishi announced a slew of new and revised 2021 and 2022 vehicles for the U.S market. Balance this with a statement from Japan a few weeks back that they would pull out of some major markets. Having closed 2019 with their best sales year since 2007, the seventh-straight year of sales increases, and the third-straight year of 100,000-plus sales; completed in 2019 the relocation of its U.S. corporate headquarters from Cypress, Calif. to Franklin, Tenn.; hired nearly 150 new employee team members since arriving in Franklin, 27 of which were brought onboard since COVID work from home began; announced a new president and CEO, Yoichi Yokozawa; and welcomed 36 new dealerships to its North American network in 2019 alone....we don't think Mitsubishi is leaving the U.S.

* Not everything can be done virtually. Genesis is pushing its GV80 and G80 launches to fall. The reason for the delay was the shutdown of much of Michigan during the COVID-19 outbreak, including EPA offices and laboratories that certify vehicle emissions, a Genesis spokesman said.

* Reuters reported that Tesla will build its next factory near Austin, Texas, Chief Executive Elon Musk announced. The 2,000-acre site on the Colorado River is about 13 minutes from downtown Austin, Musk said during the company’s second-quarter earnings call. Musk said Tesla would consider site runner-up Tulsa, Oklahoma, for future production. Musk and his team met earlier this month with officials in both states, which were competing to land the $1.1 billion plant. Musk said the plant will build Tesla’s new Cybertruck and its heavy-duty Semi truck, as well as the Model 3 and Model Y cars for eastern North America.

* The first R-Model Shelby "Flying" Mustang became the most expensive Mustang ever sold. What might be the most important high-performance Mustang variant, the very first official Shelby GT350 R, sold for $3.5 million at the Mecum Spring Classic in Indianapolis, IN. This unbelievably rare Mustang was a testbed for Carroll Shelby and his team of engineers to further develop the Ford Mustang as a race car.

* Good news for car enthusiasts. As of July 1, the state of Ohio no longer requires vehicles to have a license plate mounted on the front. Ohio joins 19 other states that have removed the requirement of a front license plate. And, as you might expect, law enforcement is unhappy with the decision.

* Barrett-Jackson is launching exclusive Collector Car Road Tours with a 2020 event that begins October 7 at Summit Racing in McDonough, Georgia, and ends on October 13 in Key West, Florida. Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Road Tours will include weeklong and weekend tours, open to all types of collectible vehicles. Encompassing over 1,500 miles through five states, the October Road Tour is limited to just 50 vehicles and will take participants to some of the most picturesque cities along the way: Atlanta, Greensville, Charlotte, Savannah, Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Daytona Beach, Port St. Lucie, West Palm Beach and Key West, the southern-most U.S. landmark.

* The Indy 500, rescheduled to August 23, has reduced the number of fans it will allow in the stands from 50% to 25% of the 350,000 capacity. Spectators will be required to wear face mask coverings. Social distancing, hand sanitizer and temperature checks will be in place. Fans over the age of 65 are recommended to not attend. Infield attendance and suite seating will be reduced. Concessions will only sell prepackaged food.

* Alex Zanardi, 53, the Italian auto racing champion-turned-Paralympic gold medalist, was transferred to a neurological rehabilitation center, a month after getting seriously injured in a hand bike crash.

* Maurice Petty, son of Lee Petty and brother of Richard, has died at age 81. Maurice was the first engine builder to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Stay safe. Be Well.